Sunday, February 28, 2016
Marc Benioff, CEO of San Francisco-based Salesforce, announced this week that the company will reduce its investment in Georgia after lawmakers approved a bill that protects opponents of marriage equality.
“We’re looking squarely at what’s going on in Georgia with House Bill 757, which means that we have to reduce our investments in the state of Georgia based on what we’re seeing with the state government there … And I hope that they see the light the way that the state of Indiana did,” Benioff is quoted as saying by the Atlanta Business Chronicle during a conference call with analysts.
The Georgia Senate last week approved its version of House Bill 757, the Pastor Protection Act approved by the House. It protects clergy from being forced to marry gay and lesbian couples. On its way to the Senate floor, a committee amended the bill to include Senate Bill 284, which would “prohibit discriminatory action against a person who believes, speaks or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such marriage.” The revised bill cleared the chamber 38-14.
Before heading to the desk of Republican Governor Nathan Deal, the GOP-led House must agree with the changes.
JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, praised Benioff's stand.
“Salesforce is leading by example and reminding the legislature what it seems to have forgotten, that all Americans, including LGBT people, should be able to live free from fear of discrimination,” Winterhof said in a blog post. “Today another Georgia business is sounding the alarm about a reckless and irresponsible bill that would create broad loopholes and put LGBT Georgians in the path of discrimination. Business and religious leaders alike have called out this disingenuous bill as an attempt to license discrimination. This shameful bill should be stopped in its tracks.”
According to HRC, Salesforce joins several Georgia-based companies in speaking out against passage, including AT&T, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., The Home Depot, SunTrust Banks, and United Parcel Service (UPS).
Saturday, February 27, 2016
A Republican-backed bill in the state of Illinois would ban the issuing of birth certificates to children without a listed father.
The legislation, submitted by Republicans John Cavaletto and Keith Wheeler, takes the unprecedented step of refusing to recognize that a child has actually been born, unless they have two biological parents listed.
The proposals could be potentially devastating in cases where paternity is unknown, or a child is born in any other ‘non-traditional’ setting.
It is unclear how much of a chilling effect it could have on human rights – given it would be effectively creating a class of ‘un-persons’ who aren’t officially even alive, which is legally unprecedented.
The bill states: “If the unmarried mother cannot or refuses to name the child’s father, either a father must be conclusively established by DNA evidence or, within 30 days after birth, another family member who will financially provide for the child must be named, in court, on the birth certificate.
“Absent DNA evidence or a family member’s name, a birth certificate will not be issued and the mother will be ineligible for financial aid from the State for support of the child.”
It adds: “A family that does not comply with the Vital Records Act provision concerning birth certificates of unmarried mothers shall be ineligible for aid for support of the child. Effective immediately.”
The bill makes exceptions for some children born to single mothers by IVF – but only if they waive all benefit entitlements.
It's amusing how the party that repeatedly spews that it wants less government involvement with peoples lives, are constantly trying to do so legislatively and at great cost to it's tax payers.
This seemingly simple plan would cost Illinois tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars to enforce and oversee.
Friday, February 26, 2016
A gay Russian man, who has blue hair, was brutally attacked outside a grocery store for looking like a ‘fag’.
Ivan Kravistin, 26, from the city of Syzran – around 600 miles east of Moscow, had gone to his local supermarket at around 24 February.
A large muscled man blocked Kravistin’s exist, before asking whether he was a ‘fag’ as he had painted his nails and dyed his hair.
After asking homophobic questions, he began to punch Kravistin in the eye, face and body. The 26-year-old was left in a bloody mess as he was attacked.
One bystander tried to intervene, telling the homophobic attacker that while he, too, did not like gay people, he did not believe in beating them up.
Police were called and the man was arrested for a ‘hooliganism’ charge.
Kravistin was taken to hospital where it was found he had suffered a concussion. He was allowed to leave and recuperate at home.
Posting the images of his injuries on social media, many told him if he dyed his hair a normal color and he should keep closeted for his own safety.
He doesn’t agree.
‘According to some, I need to stop talking about gay rights and to accept the reality that in Syzran and Russia that all gays will never be accepted as the norm,’ he wrote on his VK page. ‘Live as yourself behind closed doors with a boyfriend, and everything will be alright. If I wasn’t “searching for trouble”, my life would be a fairy tale.
‘That “happily ever after” is a lie. If you submit to homophobes, if you submit to the closet, you’re not living your best possible life. While I might have a broken face, you have a broken life.
‘If my choice is between living my life then dying suddenly or a slow, painful, closeted life – I choose the first. Say whatever you think about homosexuality, I do not deserve this. No one deserves this. I’m not going to let this force me back into the closet, this is the reason why I came out in the first place: people need to know we exist.’
President Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Tuesday (23 February) that ‘every person was created in God’s image’ and this principle ‘must direct our lives every day.’
But the very next day, the ruling coalition, led by his center-right Likud party, voted down six bills proposed by the opposition. These included legislation to ban ‘conversion therapy,’ legalize gay marriage and teach health professionals about LGBT issues.
Amir Ohana, Likud’s first openly gay MK, left the plenum without voting, while Likud’s Sharren Haskel, head of the LGBT Knesset caucus, voted against the bills.
‘I told the coalition chairman yesterday that I won’t vote with the coalition against the pro-gay bills today,’ Ohana was quoted as saying by the Haaretz newspaper.
‘Coalition members are bound to coalition discipline, but contrary to what I said, I felt I couldn’t vote against the gay community, against myself.’
Ohana said he did not vote in favor of the bills ‘because the result wouldn’t have been any different.’
‘Also, I would have been penalized,’ he added.
During the debate on the bills, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, of the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism party, compared gay sex to worshiping the golden calf.